tv Washingtons Civil War Forts and Parks CSPAN July 20, 2014 11:00am-12:03pm EDT
everyone in attendance and watching online. the commission's role as the planning agency in the suburbs of virginia and maryland, we seek to protect and enhance the rich historic and cultural resources, which includes the parks. the planning commission recently celebrated 90 years since our organization was chartered by congress. one note is that one of our early responsibilities involved in acquiring the property that has become fort circle parks. in terms of what we do, i would like to mention one project, one relevant to the national archives. we started work on the pennsylvania avenue initiative. we are working with the general services administration and the national park service to study the near and long-term need for
pennsylvania avenue between the white house and the capitol. we will develop a vision for this iconic street which is home to so many national treasures, including this building. i want to send a thanks to the national parks service and recognize peter may. he is a fellow ncpc commissioner but his day job is associate director for lands, resources, and planning. fort totten, fort reno, fort dupont. locals may recognize these names as parks, neighborhoods, even metro stations but many are surprised to learn about their civil war history. the civil war was a milestone in the nation's history. the role of famous battlefields like gettysburg and antietam are well-known to all of us.
today we are going to learn about another important albeit less well-known battle that took place not far from where we are today. were it not for the defenses built to protect washington, d.c. the battle of fort stevens, the city of washington, d.c. could be in a different place today. today we will learn about the development of the civil war forts, their role in the war, and their transformation into public parks that today we know as the fort circle parks. let me begin by introducing you to our terrific group of presenters. dr. b. franklin cooling is a well-regarded military and naval historian and a professor at the national defense university of resource strategy. he has written extensively on the national capital region, tennessee and kentucky and the
roles they played in the civil war. today he will discuss the development of the civil war defenses, washington, and their impact on the war. loretta neumann is the cofounder and vice president of the alliance to preserve the civil war defenses of washington. she worked handling national parks and historic preservation legislation and she also directed the american heritage rivers initiative on environmental quality. today she will discuss the postwar impact on the forts on the surrounding neighborhoods and their evolution. kym elder is the program manager for civil war defenses of washington. she is responsible for the management and oversight of 16 of the remaining forts and batteries owned and operated by the national park service.
said today she will highlight the parks today and provide a preview of the weekend's activities at fort stevens. let me begin now with dr. cooling. [applause] >> good afternoon. it is a pleasure to be back in this facility even if every time i go into the wrong entrance. as a researcher i became accustomed over 30 years of going in the other side. you don't want to hear about that today. i will mention the archives in just a second in a different context. i am happy to say for four days now i have listened to the national park service and the city and frederick county regale me with how the battle saved washington from confederate capture.
[laughter] having been privy, and a developer in this legend with a couple of books, i fear i am part of the problem. today i want to tell you the real battle is saved to the city of washington is what we're going to talk about in some degree. we are going to talk about fortress washington, abe lincoln, fort stevens, and the battle that really saved the union on the 11th and 12th of july 1864. it is ironic not 50 years plus one month before, 50 years and a month before, i guess that is 49 years and 11 months, anyway, the british captured washington and burned the public buildings.
setting a day in infamy that was not 9/11 or 1941. 50 years later, an enemy almost did it again. even though they were fellow americans, the enemy of the state, the enemy of the united states, the confederacy. 1814, 1864, despite a linkage between then and now through the commemoration of the sesquicentennial and the commemoration of the bicentennial. let me say this, without the national archives, and this is not pandering, without the national capital planning commission and the parks service, the task of remembrance, preservation, and public use, public recognition would be infinitely harder. public records and planning and foresight links together then with now and into the future.
we're not there yet, the future. believe me. what we have is using the laboratory of historical site and event, the records official and private, the awareness, the education, the furthering of agendas is what the sesquicentennial must be about. i listened to the president of the civil war trust yesterday given the opening address and he pointed to the fact that preservation of land will outlive all of us, including of course machine-readable and print readable records. surprisingly to say. 1814. washington was a small village that purported to be the capital of a new nation.
it was the seat of government. by 1864, washington is much more than that. it is the fortress of washington. a fortified city. 60 odd, or more, forts, 93 batteries, entrenchments, infrastructure for logistics, hospitals, as well as the political capital of the nation, the united states. had it not been for 1814, there would not have been the attention paid by 1864 in part to protecting the city. through the intervening years, there had been constructed in the area of the most possible threat, the river, fort washington.
by 1861, it was neglect did and of no use whatsoever in the war of the civil war especially where in fact, maryland was five miles away from us, surrounding the capital of the union. or the old the united states. by 1864, there is a ring the fortifications around the city, which happily are parklands. they are preserved. there is something we can point to from the civil war and suggest it is still it is being employed usefully for the city and the population today. nationally, locally, and the residents of the district of columbia. these were earthen fortifications. fort washington was a masonry, coastal defense fortification.
these were field fortifications thrown up by artilleryman, hired labor, private contractors even back then. maybe halliburton did not have anything to do with it, but it is interesting to think about. an interlocking communication system of signals, roads, parks, store houses, arsenals. why do we consider this symbol, sword and shield, symbol of the union, the shield that protected the fortification and the city and the sword, the union armies that were supposed to work together as important in our particular story? by 1864, these forts and the heavy armament at fort foot, which you must visit because it is a superb fort, restored and preserved, by 1864, we have an episode that is, if the duke of wellington would have declared, had been here, he would have said it was a damn close run thing.
despite all of these fortifications, despite the thousands of public dollars expended on this system, it was the critical summer of 1864, a critical month of july. 10 critical days of which right now if we had been in the city at this time, i have not gotten there yet. give me a chance. [laughter] if we had been there on july 10, 1864, we would be panicked, in the streets, without air
conditioning or refrigeration because the rebels were close enough to be in rockville, gaithersburg, and on up. we are here today. this was the third confederate invasion of northern territory in the stalemated war. it was a critical reelection summer for the president of the united states and abraham lincoln was a man with the same problems as president obama has, a not so loyal opposition of his own party called the radicals that had sent to him a drastic reconstruction bill that would have been punitive and unpallative to his scheme of reconstruction.
the wade davis bill. this time was the risk-taking attempt by robert e. lee to change the strategic balance in the war in the east. militarily and politically, although militarily robert e. lee wanted to break the stranglehold of ulysses s. grant, and others. and of course you may recall in the west, the atlanta campaign had become bogged down. on the coast, wilmington, north carolina and other places had not been blockaded by the union. in fact, in this summer of 1864, everything was at a standstill. the war had not been won after gettysburg. forget gettysburg. forget antietam. forget emancipation. it all hung in the balance on an afternoon here at fort stevens
when a confederate general, had children out of wedlock, spit tobacco, lee's bad old man, of which i have a biography, pointing out many of his foibles. but he was a fighter. he was the last thing robert e. lee had as an instrument for changing the war and he came with 8000, 10,00, maybe 12,000 men, battle hardened veterans, and was coming again change or in the east. the timeline, the citizen soldier, the lawyer, who opposed the succession, but went with the state, never understood that because he was a west pointer.
after the war, he used to look across and complain about the barber pole flag, the american flag. he swore allegiance to it. so i don't have much for his comment on the american flag. how close? it is all a matter of speed. the delays begin for this previous week starting with the fourth of july when his men enjoy the repast set out by the union soldiers and he loses three days. he loses another day at frederick. a battle that cost him the services of one of his best visions, but he has become the confederate incarnate of hard war. he is the great extortionist of the civil war. he is going to extort capital from all of these northern cities and maryland cities like
hagerstown and middletown in frederick and he waste a lot of time when his mission is to get to washington, change the scope of the war, capture the city, dispersed the lincoln administration, but he is extracting 200 grand from frederick. ok. priorities. nature, the second factor. on july 10, the thermometer in georgetown in maryland stood in the mid-90's. the drought had been in the region for weeks on end. water was in short supply and the marching columns went through six inch on the highway.
not what we have with i270. probably took them just as long. [laughter] just about as unpleasant, too. all of these delays due to our main point about the battle of fort stevens, and i don't want to go on too long because we have other things to talk about this afternoon. fort stevens had been set up as fort massachusetts here in washington as early as 1861. after the previous invasion, they expanded fort massachusetts, who had been built by volunteers into fort stevens. you can still see, and we'll talk about the restored parapet. otherwise everyone says, where is the fort? thinking they're going to find a western stockade or like fort mchenry. fort stevens was an expanded earthen fort with a stockaded backside to it.
that saved labor and money and all that sort of thing. had 19 guns. it was manned by this time by 150 day men out of ohio who had come to be shipped as cannon fire for the battles of virginia. interestingly, these men were the equal to the heavy artillery because the remaining garrisons had trained these people. let me tell you, one moment in time before i wrap this thing up. early afternoon of july 11, monday afternoon. the moment when the two forces will meet at fort stevens. there is all these men coming in
from frederick and reinforcements finally coming up from the petersburg lines by boat. they are down at the docks at this very moment. jubal early rides down georgia avenue, 7th street, and at the medical center, walter reed is situated on what is going to become a battlefield. the only battlefield in the district of columbia. jubal early, hunched over from arthritis, pulls out his binoculars and looks down at the union lines from his left. fort slocum. he peers and he senses the moment of opportunity to change
the course of the war, my career, american history, and the future of the confederacy. right then and there. can you imagine that career opportunity for any of us? not robert e lee, ulysses s. grant. jubal early. never heard of him. soldiers know him. the enemy was going to know about him. he turns to bring up his army and there is no army because of the heat and the dust and they are straggling all the way to gaithersburg. would we have pressed that issue? all of you folks who are leaders, here is your moment. would you have pushed the momentum and found something more than a corporal's guard to go through? jubal early does not. maybe he was tired.
he hated the yankees. but he could not push forward. what does he do? what most of us would have done. he retires to silver spring, a a sylvan mansion, and the rum cellar, and he loses the initiative. here at fort stevens. the next day, abraham lincoln, the consummate politician, he comes out to fort stevens. he sees what is going on. he also wants -- if you think lincoln was not a consummate politician, you might be too idealistic. he comes out on july 11. second day he comes up to the fort, and horatio wright, the commander who has brought his troops, he says, mr. president,
i am happy to see you. would you like to see a battle? no sooner than that, he realizes good heavens, the president goes up on the ramparts and is shot. who becomes vice president? never heard of hannibal hamlin. what happens to the nation and the city? all kinds of things can happen. abe goes up there, nearly gets shot. maybe not where the boulder is, the great what-ifs of history based on the records and legend and myth and storytelling, like i am telling stories today. history never repeats itself. historians repeat each other. [laughter] in any case, lincoln is almost shot. a surgeon is cut down nearby. again a missed opportunity for
the confederacy. yes, lincoln was nearly shot. early realized he could not breach the defenses because wright and his troops had come in, and of course this episode slightly scathes, or does nothing much for lincoln's reelection chances that summer. he probably had in his mind those days the wade davis bill more than anything else. the fate of his secretary of state's one son who was captured. and the political chances of reelection, remember the blind memorandum in the deadly summer of near defeat, largely because of early before washington. the president gets his cabinet to sign on the back of a memorandum saying he promises everybody will abide by the
succession that will come when he thinks he is not going to get reelected. military incompetence on the northern side. the north is taken aback. there are notions that may be lincoln set this up for some reason. gee, that sounds familiar. [laughter] conspiracy theory. a scathing criticism of a war entirely. sherman is going nowhere. the navy is going nowhere. only the confederate seem to be going somewhere. but they escaped. they escaped. so a change of command will occur in august that brings that team together of grant, sherridan, and early's demise. early pulling out of the lines turns to his staff and goes well, gentlemen, i guess we
scared abe lincoln like hell. according to his aide, douglas, who represents most of the confederate force is ticked off because he did not get into washington. he turns to his superior and says, general, on the afternoon of the 12th, you can see these couple of red gate came against us in a counter assault. there was somebody else who was scared like hell, i suspect. jubal utters a couple more profanities and says, yeah, i guess so. ain't going to make it into the history books. it has. even if not by official records. the memoirs, which fill out the official records and in fact i ventured to tell you there are probably more records in the national archives now that are not in the official records of the war published by the war
department in the navy counterpart for the benefit of the veterans after the war. although the military also used it in war planning. there is probably more that can be found. let me suggest this, grant may have declared early's lost opportunity changed his summer plans. if only to finally force grant to seal the achilles' heel of the shenandoah valley and approach washington. the soldiers in these forts, for days after early was long gone, were cleaning up. not the battlefield, cleaning up the fortifications. kind of locking the barn door after the horse had been stolen. make no mistake, however.
to a number of these veterans, the watermark of the confederacy was not gettysburg, it was a tollhouse. at the corner of georgia avenue, that was the fullest extent of the confederate forces on the afternoon of july 11 and 12 to capture washington, changing the course of the war and the course of us today. quite frankly. the works have eroded. we're going to hear about that a little bit in a moment. we don't know where lincoln stood. i think he stood all over the place. he never stood still. he was up, he was down, he was at fort stevens.
but we really don't know for sure, despite the lovely stone out there. the veterans remembered seeing him there. i am 75 years of age, i remember things differently than when i was fighting, or something like that, at 20, 18. so who knows? they may have been mistaken that they wanted to mark that spot and they got the stone and brought it up there and put the bas relief on there and that is their monument. that is their monument to the remembrance of lincoln under enemy fire. we don't know that the justice of the supreme court really uttered one of those words, get that damn fool down. the records suggest five or six other people, veterans and the owner of the property also shouted get that fool down.
get that man down. and finally horatio right back the chief executive down. because he told him he could not protect him. mr. president, i can't guarantee your protection. so finally lincoln gets down off his perch. urbanized washington took over. still washington forts are yet another of washington's many monuments that have transitioned in purpose. testament to survival of the national unification, particularly fort stevens, they want recognition, appreciation, commemoration for what they did there and probably lost over 1000 people and casualties, some of whom are buried in the cemetery and the confederate cemetery out in silver spring. just what they have become and
what they wrought 150 years ago certainly warrants our gratitude today and our recognition. in the pantheon of heroes of the nation, heroes of the southern confederacy. the general officers and the enlisted personnel, the veterans who came back after the war, the most immediate great entitlement built a house, and help preserve what loretta is going to tell you about right now. thank you. [applause]
thank you, frank. he is amazing. everything i am going to show you i have learned from him and a few others like him. but mainly from frank. especially for the civil war defense of washington. there is a bible, mr. lincoln's forts. that is the book to read. i wish i had brought it with me. i encourage you to get that book. the nice thing about youtube is you can watch it later and pause and look at these at your leisure. and you can read faster than i can talk. i just want you to see these beautiful places that i love, their history, and as parks and recreation and resources. the lungs of the city. so there we start. as frank said, the city was unprotected down below. this is fort washington.
if you have not been there, you should go. it is different from the forts built during the civil war. and after bull run, lincoln knew the city was vulnerable and that is when he ordered major general john g. barnard to design this a series of forts to protect it. so here they are. you can see it was quite amazing to build all of those. he did them quickly. it was tremendous. and here they are today. i have circled on this old map the ones under government ownership today. the parks service owns the ones in washington, d.c. and one in maryland and virginia. others are owned by local governments. you will see them as well. another part of the story, in 1902, a commission report on the parks, one of the major recommendations had to do with the civil war defenses of
washington. they saw the forts were beautiful to look at and to look from and they saw these as potential parks and linking them with the fort circle drive, and i have a newspaper article that that says all but one mile was bought. so there is land all over those forts. these are all the different forts, three different management systems, and it is something we are hoping to change. eleanor holmes norton has introduced legislation to establish the civil war defenses of washington national historical parks and have it under its own superintendent and hopefully its own staff and we will be able to do those things we would like to see done.
here is fort stevens in historical photos. you can see what frank was talking about. it is quite an amazing place. the thing i like to note is the farmland. all of this was farmland. many of the houses were hit and burned. here it is today. in the 1930's, the ccc reconstructed much of fort stevens. you can get the flavor of what it was like. it is well worth a visit. there is a magazine and a boulder. sorry i did not get a picture. it is there, too. it was also important in african-american history, then and now. it was the earliest black
settlement in d.c. and this woman, a lizabeth tom is, she was a free african-american who owned 11 acres. women did not tend to own the land at all. and a free black woman is unusual. her land was taken for fort stevens. and just down from fort stevens, this is private property. it was threatened with a townhouse development. some of us said we have got to do something. we got it added to fort stevens. down here, two more african-american properties and i encourage you to read about them, the military road school and the lightfoot house. here is a map. i think this will help most of all. the battles, all of the fortifications manned up.
they did not know where the confederates would come. they were coming from the north. so this whole range came into play and it starts down at fort bunker hill, here is the metro station. fort slocum, which is a neighbor of ours. we live in takoma. here is fort stevens. we are very close. fort derussy, and reno was huge. oops. you will see a picture of that in a moment. i also have it down here, fort bayard and battery campbell. bunker hill, it is a square block. the parks service are repairing the trails that lead there. so it should be a great recreation spot even though it none of the defenses are left. and coming into where fort
totten is is a stretch of land. there is a drive along it. supposedly it is in the middle. this is leading into fort totten. here is the metro station. and then this is part of the fort circle drive land. here is fort totten. you'll notice, i have tried to get the real person's name. the more i get to learn, i love the land, but these are real people. i'm trying to bring the human element into the story. fort totten today is not doing well. when i first started taking pictures 15 years ago, this gate was open. there is erosion from dirt bikers. but it is beautiful land. it is huge. could be a magnificent park. it needs staffing and resources and programs.
it needs what the parks service does best, run parks. fort slocum, here again, this is all farmland. the u.s. colored infantry was there. these are white officers here, but behind, the nco's were african-american. today there is nothing left of the defenses, but there is a great heart and i think interpreting it, having a cannon there, and having a ranger give a talk, this is part of the fort circle drive land that was never built on. along the side, it makes a lovely boulevard.
fort derussy is so beautiful. you come up to oregon avenue and you pull off. it is very easy to find. there is this huge tree, they think it was there during the battle. sometimes when they got cut off, they grew back. it is about 150 years old. here, the earthworks there, just -- they are massive. you can go all the way around. and some hiking trails. just a terrific park. again, fort reno is the highest point in d.c. and they had this tower. so they can see the confederates coming and they knew, uh-oh, we were in trouble. similarly when jubal early looked at fort reno he said that is well fortified and it is high and big and strong.
then he came onto georgian avenue to fort stevens. and here is the modern fort reno. even though there is nothing left of the defenses, if you climb to the top, that is virginia in the distance. you can really feel what it might have been like, close your eyes, it is definitely worth a visit. and nearby, more land. again, some land brought for the civil war defenses and i took this just a couple of weeks ago. i am driving along and i am thinking, what a beautiful wilderness. amazing space. this is terrific. i guess people don't use it as a park and i saw this guy, sure enough, reading a kindle or something.
politics and prose is not far away. that is a park. battery campbell. the parks service does not like this. the community loves it for dog walking. back in the trees are some defenses that remain. it is beautiful area. that was to guard the chain bridge, the only bridge between washington and harpers ferry. it was very important. and across the river is the only fort the parks service has today that is in virginia. fort marcy. it was built and it has massive,
pretty good-sized defenses. not much interpretation. if any, a little. you know what you're seeing. you know where to go. and you can enjoy it. that is something i would love to see in the future, and then crossing the anacostia to the other side of the river, this beautiful land up here. those are all the fort circle parks. the connecting land and the forts. i gave this to the planning commission when they had a hearing on the expansion and i said, think about what would happen if buildings were high. it would destroy the view and looking from those places, you will see a couple of pictures of them, how terrible it would be to destroy this great vista. i'm not going to show you every one of them. at least you will get a flavor. you can see how beautiful they are and the potential they have. we are going to start at the bottom. so here is fort foote. this is one of my favorites. it was frank's, too. it was high over the river. you can see this beautiful vista. it is historically very important. here is me under this cannon, not to show off me.
it is to show you how big they are. these are the real ones. you can see the picture. they have fallen down, but they were put back up. it is about six miles down. here is fort stanton. you have to go through our lady of perpetual help catholic church and the highway. this is the view i took in 2003 when i started getting involved with the park service. and last fall, here is the same view. it was all covered. i complained to kym about it and she fought and said she wanted it by the fourth of july to have it cut and i went the other day and took this picture. it is even better than before. so thank you, kym. this is not part of the civil war defense, but nobody can go there and not drop by and see
the frederick douglass national historic site. he was too important. former slave, and a speaker and a statesman. and the house is fabulous. down the way is fort ricketts. there is stuff behind there. you can see the picnic table and there are defenses still there. fort davis, the only part that was ever constructed. it was done during the ccc and 1935. it is overgrown, but you can go there and see what the defenses look like. what those earthworks were like. here is fort dupont, it has problems with exotic vegetation. i don't know -- i can't tell you what to do about the vegetation. but it does hurt the earthworks. here are the fort circle parklands.
these beautiful plants, native plants, endangered species, a ranger told me people drive all the way to the shenandoah mountains to see them and you can walk up and see them. so it is well worth a visit. this is the hike i went on with the sierra club. this afternoon, there will be one leaving from fort derussy. if you'd like to join them, you can do that. go to the nature center. fort chaplin, it is more of a park, but it is wonderful. and then here are the ones in virginia and maryland owned by local governments. this is battery bailey. it is just a little one. a battery is just a place where they had a platform. they were not garrisoned. it is just very charming and the lot of these displays about what
it did look like and it is interesting right off of mass avenue. fort ethan allen, they have done a wonderful job of improving it and doing some interpretation. they had a fabulous event. here is another one, cf smith. this is there now and they have bathrooms. we don't have those at fort stevens. fort wood, this is the gem of them all. it is big and it has been restored. about 90% of the earthworks are restored. it has a great museum.
it is in alexandria. alexandria owns it. terrific. they are also doing a lot of history on the african-american story, which i won't get into. it is very controversial. they are at least trying to make up for past wrongs. fort willard is a traffic circle. look what they did. those are real ones. that is a cannon. it feels like you are back then. this is fort stevens. this is what it was the last couple of years. every year we have an event. the one this year is going to be on steroids. it is going to be fabulous. here is kym. this is our alliance group. our treasurer gary thompson and me. it is important to have
advocates, and that is what we are. we are six years old, we are fighting very hard for that legislation and we hope you will help us support it and i thank you for the chance to speak. [applause] >> again, good afternoon. i want to thank our hosts and having all of these folks here today to talk about the civil war forts of washington and our sister agency, the ncpc. again, i'm going to click this button. >> [indiscernible] >> so as my colleagues alluded to, we've got a lot of great things going on and we are ready to tell that story. the 150th anniversary of the battle of fort stevens, the only civil war battle fought in washington, d.c. over the next couple of days, we
are going to have lots of activities, including at the battleground national cemetery, the second smallest cemetery, the 38 union soldiers buried there. it is a lovely place to visit. we will have some of its there this coming sunday. i do want to point out many of you may have gotten a copy of this program. it is not just for stevens, but the entire campaign of the attack on washington by jubal early. if you have an opportunity to visit, please do so. as we have noted, today into and tomorrow, we've got a lot of great things going on. c-span will be there tomorrow evening to cover the civil war historians roundtable. we have noted speakers and then
as loretta said, we are looking to fort stevens day on steroids. we're going to have mr. lincoln there. mrs. lincoln there. we will have nick delay, and we will be firing a cannon. the first time in 150 a cannon will be fired from a d.c. fort. so, you have got to come out and share that. [laughter] and on sunday we will have the memorial program at the battleground national cemetery and we will pay respect to the 38 soldiers buried there and the many, many others who have given the ultimate sacrifice for this country. i know we did not have a lot of time and i am not sure we are going to be able to open it up for questions but i encourage you to tell your friends about
it and visit our website. and thank you so very much. [applause] >> i think we have time for one or two questions. if people would like to come to either of the microphones. if folks have questions, we will go ahead and take them in turn. so if you could give us a minute, sir. >> hi, david balducci. thank you for your presentation. i would like to ask about the legislation. i wonder if you can get into it deeper and maybe focus on how the local government owned virginia forts will be incorporated into that plan. >> thanks. i take it you are from virginia.
the bill would, we tried to make it revenue neutral. basically, it is redesignating these existing forts as a national historical park. it provides for a cooperative agreement with the other locally-owned forts. and then with private owners, there is still some private owners have some portions of old forts on them. we would like to get better signage. for example, i went out a few weeks ago with my husband, he loves to go with me. i said there is a fort bennett in virginia. there was a sign and you can -- there is a ravine on the side. i thought maybe it was there. even though there is an
apartment building there. so we will have things. and we will study a way to have a place in washington to study and commemorate the civil war and both sides, the confederate and union. >> i would like to ask a question about the compensation for folks' land. i talked to the ranger at the fort stevens site and she was not compensated. i am interested to know how we got the land then to setup the fort and what practices were in place at that time. >> we had a free black woman by the name of elizabeth thomas. it was 11 acres of land. it is what we would today consider to be eminent domain. they came through and took the property.
we don't have proof she was compensated. you can do that in a time of war, and that is what happened. >> and the rest of the forts? the same practice? >> this was called military necessity in a time of war. you can take the property. the descendents of elizabeth thomas, she said president lincoln promised her a great reward. she never got a great reward. the descendents have never seen any reward at all, in records and so forth. the property owners at the end of the war received back the land, if they could prove it was their land and basically the timber and what was remaining in the forts that could be utilized. they could put in claims for damages and in fact the claims after the war, record group 92, i think it is, that is where you would go to find the records of
what had happened. this was universally used in the south where the military had occupied land and destroyed property. fences, barns. that is the story there. for months after the end of the war, at appomattox, for example, some of these forts were retained with garrisons, and gradually the fears of any resurgence of the rebellion, or the threat from the french in mexico or the british, whoever, the army realized it was taking up a lot of money keeping these things and so they got rid of them. fort foote retained its garrison into the 1870's. there were batteries in the
spanish-american war, and of course fort washington, even more recently, was an active post. >> thank you. >> i think you will be our last question. >> i was wondering if you could help me with a question i have had, when jubal early approached washington, cavalry patrols were sent on the east and west sides of the city. in fact, there was an expedition to try to free the prisoners at point lookout. which came to nothing. the one that intrigued me was the cavalry regiment on the western side of washington who were lost and did not know where they were reported they entered one of the forts. found it completely unmanned, went on the ramparts and could see the white house and the capitol in the distance. do you think there is any credibility to that report and what could it have been? >> let me explain, there are three legends you have wrapped into one. [laughter] john mccausland's cavalry came down the rockville pike. we are not sure why early deviates into georgia avenue.
you should go up, there is a map on display out of the library of congress dated april 1864. it is obviously taken from the union corps of engineers map, etc. but whether or not he had it and presented so they could come and see where to get into washington, we don't know. it is a great mystery. mysteries are still surfacing all over the place in the official records. mccausland had a young man, a road is named after his family. jim johnston, a lawyer, has taken a diary of that family. he took mccausland through the lines up to fort gaines at american university, had dinner at his family place, and they ostensibly looked down on the lights of the capital. he was happy to tell this story to general grant when he was in
the white house after the war. you can imagine grant chomping on his cigar. mm-hmm, right. for years, nobody believed it. confederate soldiers claimed to have seen the capitol. that was hokum. there is no where you can see the dome of the capitol. it is below where the visual would have gotten it. probably saw the lights of georgetown. mccausland apparently had snuck through the lines on that night and got not there. nobody else we know of. john gordon claims to have rode up on the lines in broad daylight. no way of substantiating that. the old soldiers have vivid memories, and there are the
origins of your story. >> i was a surveyor for 42 years and we had the 1880 u.s. maps, the first topographic maps of the city ever put out by the federal government and the fortifications are on there. it is a cool set of maps. i think the library could of congress has them. >> thanks. >> with that, i would like to thank the national archives for hosting this wonderful event. our speakers, dr. b. franklin cooling, loretta neumann, kym elder. please join me one last time in
a round of applause for them. and thank you. thank you. [applause] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] [captioning performed by national captioning institute] >> your watch in american history tv all weekend on c-span three. like us on facebook. >> next, the college of william 's brett rushforth. he details the territorial tension between the french and greek written that rocked -- and great britain that brought the seven years war. the college of william and mary is in virginia. this is about an hour.
>> we're going to talk about the seven years' war. it is often known as the first global war. it is a war that in the united states is often called the french and indian war. in quebec, it is the war of the conquest. in europe and many other areas, it is called the seven years' war. the name is important. the civil war is one -- calling it the civil war is one interpretation, but calling it the war of northern aggression means you have a different interpretation. in quebec, the war of the conquest has a really heavy political implication because they see this as the moment when
french-canadian society was taken over, conquered by the british, and therefore, the moment where their the seized culture has to start dealing with british canada in a a long and brutal struggle for autonomy. the name the french and indian war comes from the british themselves. this is who they are blaming, blaming french aggression, indian actors and their allies. they put the blame on the french. the seven years' war is its name in europe. the war begins to north america in 1754 and ends with a peace treaty in 1763. despite the fact that it lasts nine years, it is still called the seven years' war, because the nine years' war was already taken.